Brrr! It’s Cold!

On my way to work this morning there was lots of fog and all the plants, fences and signs were coated with hoarfrost. It is very cold today and I’m glad to be inside a warm building. We had a low temperature overnight of 8° F below 0! Currently the temperatures are still below 0 and the weather forecast predicts that it will take all day just to get near 20° F.

I’ve taken two pictures of the hoarfrost to share with you. Both of these pictures were taken just outside our building and you can enjoy its beauty without having to step outside or travel to Utah.

After looking at all the hoarfrost I started singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” All the snow and the cold is making me think about Christmas. Can you believe that Christmas is only 24 days away? Don’t miss out on the chance to make fast and easy Christmas gifts!

Join me in a virtual holiday toast! No matter where you are, I hope this holiday season is treating you well. May the season be bright and enjoyable for you.

Hoarfrost on the bushes outside the front door.

Hoarfrost on an evergreen at the parking lot edge.
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Blizzard Warning for Northern Utah

Attention all TheSage customers!

Northern Utah has been receiving a lot of snow over the last two days. We have been placed under a Blizzard Warning by the National Weather Service. This warning is in effect from 3 pm Tuesday till 8 am Wednesday. We are expecting anywhere from three to eighteen inches of snowfall in the next 60 hours!

We are still planning on working but if the weather dumps lots of snow on us and the snowplows can not keep up with the snow fall, we will call a snow day to keep our staff safely at home. We will update our website and blog if we call a snow day, so stay tuned!

I hope you are staying warm!

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Thanksgiving Shipping Schedule for 2010

As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, you probably want to know everything you can about when your package will be delivered and when we are open. Here is all the shipping news for you!

TheSage Operation Hours:

November 24th: (Pie Day) We will process all orders received into our systems by 7:00 am Mountain Time. Any orders received after this time will be processed when we return on Monday. We will close at noon to allow our staff time to travel or go home to prepare.

November 25th through 28th: TheSage will be closed. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

November 29th: We will be open during our regular hours and all orders placed over the holiday weekend will be processed today.

Package Transportation Information:

November 24th:

UPS will make the regular pickups and deliveries. Any Next Day Air packages picked up today will be delivered on Friday.

USPS will make regular deliveries and pickups.

November 25th: Thanksgiving Day

Both UPS and USPS are closed. No deliveries or pickups will be made today.

November 26th:

UPS will only deliver Next Day and Second Day Air and international packages.

USPS will make regular deliveries.

All orders placed over the Thanksgiving break will be processed Monday. We will ship as many orders as possible on Monday, so I expect we will almost fill the UPS truck!


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2010 Thanksgiving Shopping for the Food Pantry

Here at TheSage, our staff has an annual tradition that is now in its fifth year of operation. We go shopping for the local Food Pantry and each staff member is given $50 to purchase food for a Thanksgiving dinner. This year we had the staff make teams of 2 people and each team was given $100 for shopping. Each team was required to make a menu and complete the whole menu as best as they could. We also have challenges to see which team can get the least amount of change or which team can get the most groceries and still complete their menu. This event is one of our favorite ways to give back to the community.

This year, we took lots of pictures to share with you and I hope you enjoy them!

Mouein smiles as he begins his shopping near the rice mixes.

Dirk waves enthusiastically as MMS Staff pack the soup aisle.
Taylor and Dirk celebrate after learning they were the first to check out.
Adriane and Betty smile as they begin to check out.

Hyun, Kent, Jenny and Andee chat while waiting for the rest of the teams to finish.
Dallin points to his idea of Thanksgiving while his teammate, Mouein, watches.
Adriane grins while her teammate Betty reviews their menu.
Mitch watches the price while his teammate, Treva, loads the belt.
Kent gives a thumbs up at the check out.

Stephanie watches as Tracee and Mariah pay for their groceries.

Our TheSage team shows off all of the groceries we purchased.

We stuffed the whole truck bed with groceries for the food pantry.

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Latest Product News

Clementine Essential Oil
I have just recently learned that we only have a small amount of Clementine Essential Oil on hand. We have tried to bring more in and there is not any currently available on the market. If you really like Clementine, we recommend trying Tangerine. We are hoping we will know more towards the end of the year. I hope I’ll have better news for you soon!

Chocolate Bacon Flavor:
I have been recently testing a Chocolate Bacon Flavor and I would like to know if you would like this flavor. Since this flavor has had some formulation differences, this flavor will be in solid form with a base of beeswax. Send me an e-mail and tell me how much you want. Due to the limited availability of this flavor, I will be offering this as a limited edition flavor. Get it while it lasts!

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Cyclomethicone Testing, Part 6

I have more Cyclomethicone Testing results for you. I have a list of requests that I will test later this week and I hope to release those results next week.

Today, I tested Alice Fragrance Oil, Chocolate Mousse Fragrance Oil, Coconut Fragrance Oil, Cranberry Fragrance Oil, Crystal Blue Fragrance Oil, Cucumber & Aloe Fragrance Oil, Cucumbers & Melons Fragrance Oil, Dream (type) Fragrance Oil, Edward Fragrance Oil, Egyptian Musk Fragrance Oil, Elements Of Bamboo Fragrance Oil and Endless Love (type) Fragrance Oil. With the exception of the Coconut Fragrance Oil, all of these fragrance oils were compatible with the Cyclomethicone. The Coconut Fragrance Oil had beads of fragrance and it was cloudy in appearance.

Keep an eye out for more results of Cyclomethicone Testing. Have any requests for me to test first? Let me know and I will try to test those requested fragrances or essentials first!

Want to do a dry oil spray? See this entry for details!

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Special Request Orange Cuticle Butter

Recently I was asked by dbuhler if it was possible to duplicate a cuticle butter from Lush. I asked what her what she liked about the cuticle butter and here is her response.

My favorite thing I like about Lemony Flutter is the texture! It’s texture is like a thick, moderately hard body butter and it absorbs into my skin and cuticles! Other cuticle treatments I have tried are very waxy and balmy (Burts Bees Cuticle Cream) and take forever to absorb into my skin, thus leaving a film on my cuticles where lint and dust get trapped. Nothing is worse than applying a cuticle treatment and then look down at my hands an hour later and have lint stuck to my fingers – not a look I am going for while I am at work. The ingredient list is pretty impressive, and if I am reading the ingredients correct, one of the first ingredients listed is shea butter which has been doing wonders for my nails since I started using hand products with shea butter in them! I hope this answers your question! If not, please let me know if you need any additional information. I would LOVE to be able to make my own cuticle cream and not have to spend a small fortune to buy LF (there is no LUSH store in ID so I have to order online). Thanks again!!

After reading her response, I started looking over the long list of ingredients and I discovered that some of the ingredients that were used in the cuticle butter were not available to me. I sat down with a catalog and a search engine to learn what oils I had on hand were similar to the ones I didn’t have access to. Here are my reasons for picking the ingredients that I chose.

Shea Butter, High Melt Point: While the original product is stated to use Shea Butter, I wanted to make sure that I used the High Melt Point Shea Butter to prevent possible graininess in the final product.

Orange Butter: Since I don’t have a lemon butter, I used the Orange Butter instead so I could still have the citrus scent.

Hemp Butter: My first attempt used the Virgin Coconut Oil, but I didn’t like the conflicting scents from the coconut and orange. (Maybe I just don’t care for coconuts and oranges together!)

Meadowfoam Oil: I picked Meadowfoam to replace the Soy Oil that was listed in the original ingredients since I don’t have any Soy Oil on hand. I also wanted to use this oil for moisturizing capabilities it has.

Camelina Oil: In my research to learn about Flax Oil, I learned that Flax Oil is one of the botanical sources that contains a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Looking at a comparison chart, I discovered that Camelina is also contains a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. I used this oil to match the similarities in Omega-3 and really pamper the skin.

Calendula Oil Extract: This oil is one of my favorites for the soothing feel my hands seem to have after using a lotion with Calendula. I thought that this would be a perfect ingredient to help the cuticles.

Horsetail Grass Extract: I used the Horsetail because this extract has some great strengthening, elasticizing and healing properties. It also has been shown to help nails become stronger.

Now that I had come up with some good ingredient solutions, I started formulating a recipe that might be similar to the what was described. Join me on my journey making this cuticle butter.

Completely cooled cuticle butter on my finger.
Weighed ingredients before melting.
Completely melted mixture.

Completely cooled cuticle butter.

Continue reading Special Request Orange Cuticle Butter

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1 oz Jar & Cap Set Picture

For those of you who have been asking for a picture of the 1 oz jar and cap set, here is a picture I took in our blog kitchen. This jar is perfect for those little salves and specialty lotions you make. I could even see a sampler gift set being made with these jars. Wouldn’t that be cool to offer a little gift set that allows you to show off your lotions, creams or salves? Try these jars and I think you will love them as much as I do!

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Mountain Snow in Northern Utah

The Wellsville Mountains of the Wasatch Mountain Range.
Back in August I shared a picture of the mountains in Northern Utah. Now that the snow has started to coat the mountains, I’m excited to share another picture of our home valley as the winter weather begins.

Over the last week or so, we have had on and off snowfalls and rain that have left the mountains powder coated. I’m enjoying the hot chocolate and tea that accompanies the cooler weather and snowfall. I love being able to curl up with a blanket, a hot drink and my dogs as we watch the snow falling outside.

I hope you are enjoying the weather where you are located. Join me in drinking our favorite winter or holiday beverages. What is your favorite winter beverage?

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Introduction to Liquid Soap Week Coming Up

Making Natural Liquid Soaps Cover
Making Natural Liquid Soaps Cover

I recently found my test kitchen crock pot and I’ve been dying to use it. I thought about making liquid soap, but I haven’t had any experience making liquid soap. I decided that it would be fun to have an Introduction to Liquid Soap Week and you could learn right along with me! I will be following the directions from Making Natural Liquid Soaps by Catherine Failor. Read along with me and we will discuss each chapter as we make soap.

Today I’m going to start with a list of equipment and ingredients needed for making liquid soap. I will give you almost three weeks to collect the supplies for learning about liquid soap. On December 3rd we will begin our week dedicated to learning about liquid soap. If you have questions you would like answered during that week, feel free to e-mail me and I will try to answer every question during the Liquid Soap Week.

Equipment that we will need for the Introduction to Liquid Soap Week:
Making Natural Liquid Soap by Catherine Failor
Safety goggles, anti fog are helpful
Heavy duty gloves
A crock pot or double boiler system that will hold a minimum of 5 quarts.
Plastic Spoon
Immersion blender
Work clothes with long sleeves and closed shoes
Microwave for heating oils (If you are using the crock pot)
Containers for the finished soap
Plastic sheeting
Bungee Cords
pH meter (Fun if you have one, but it is optional)

Collect needed items:

Required Ingredients:
Potassium Hydroxide
Distilled, reverse osmosis or soft water
Hard fats: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Tallow, Cocoa Butter
Liquid Oils: Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Almond Oil
Waxes: Lanolin, Jojoba
Alcohol: Ethanol or Isopropyl Alcohol
Liquid Glycerin
Borax or Sodium Borate
Citric Acid
Optional Ingredients:
Potassium Carbonate
Essential or Fragrance Oils of choice

Each day we will focus on a new batch of Liquid Soap as we progress through the book. Two weeks later, we evaluate our soaps after their two week sequestering period.

Where do I find Potassium Hydroxide?

I would recommend that you try calling a few companies listed in your phone book under Cleaning Supplies or Chemicals. If you can’t find anything there call the local high school or college and talk with a chemistry teacher. They are usually able to direct you to a chemical supply in your area that offers small quantities of Potassium Hydroxide. Potassium Hydroxide is also called Caustic Potash. It make take a few hours of phone work but you will save the Hazardous Materials shipping fees AND support your local economy. You don’t need a lab grade as a technical grade is just fine and less expensive.

A word about scales:

You must have a scale for making soap. You do NOT need an expensive scale or one that measures in 0.1 gram increments. You do need 1 gram readability for scales that have grams and ounces, or 0.1 ounce readability for scales that only offer ounces. My hope is you can get one that has 1 gram readability. If you intend to make lotions and lip balms, in quantities suitable for a family of four, not communities of 40,000, then I suggest you consider a scale that has 0.1 gram readability. The benefit of making your scale dual purpose is to cover the soap making AND personal care products like lip balm, lotions, creams and serums. If the scale is only for soap choose the 1 gram readability.

The price of a scale corresponds to the number of steps each scale offers. A step is readability times capacity. A scale that has a readability of 1 gram and a capacity of 100 grams has 100 steps. A scale that has readability of 0.1 gram and a capacity of 100 grams has 1000 steps. The second scale will cost more than the first. We hope this has helped you consider the scales available to you. If you have questions along the way give us a call or send an email.

Our homework for the next 10 days is to read the first chapter of the book and write down what you think about it. I’ll share my thoughts about the first chapter.

Have fun!

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Summer Rose Bouquet Soap

The weather is changing to winter and while I love the holiday season, I couldn’t stop myself from daydreaming about next summer and the fresh flowers. To help solve my desire to stop and smell the roses, I made this fun soap that smells just like a fresh summer bouquet. I think you will enjoy this soap as much as I do!

Collect needed items:

Sweet Almond Oil
Coconut Oil
Palm Oil
Shea Butter
Sunflower Oil
Rose Fragrance Oil
Cherry Blossom Fragrance Oil
Amethyst Pink Dry Color
Liquid Glycerin
Soap Spoon
Immersion Blender
Time spent:
Weighing time: 8 minutes
Adding lye to water: 15 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of stirring
Heating of oils time: 90 seconds
Pouring lye solution into the fat mixture: 15 seconds
Using immersion blender to mix soap solution: 90 seconds
Adding fragrance blend and color and mixing well: 30 seconds
Pour into mold: 10 seconds
Allow soap to rest: 24 hours
Recipe in ounces:
4 ounces Sweet Almond Oil
8 ounces Coconut Oil
8 ounces Palm Oil
4 ounces Shea Butter
8 ounces Sunflower Oil

4.53 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
12 fl oz water

0.2 ounces Rose Fragrance Oil
0.3 ounces Cherry Blossom Fragrance Oil
q.s. Liquid Amethyst Pink Color*

* To make these soaps, I did need to do some work just to prepare the colors I would use. I mixed the Amethyst Pink Dry color with Liquid Glycerin and then mixed well. From now on, I will refer to this as Liquid Amethyst Pink Color. I used the amount I desired to color my soap, but you can use more or less as you desire. This item has been marked as q.s. “Quantity Sufficient” for this purpose.

Measure fixed oils on your scale. Warm the fixed oils on the stove or in the microwave. I melted the oils in the microwave. Add sodium hydroxide to the water. Mix well. Combine the scent blend in a beaker and set aside.

Combine oils and lye solution. Mix until thin trace. Upon light trace, add the scent blend and Liquid Amethyst Pink Color. Stir well. Pour soap into the desired mold I used a different style of the Guerrilla Mold from Dirk’s post. Allow to sit until soap is firm.

The next morning cut into bars. Stack to allow good air circulation. Allow to cure for several days before using. Longer curing will result in a harder bar.

This soap turned out to be a lovely shade of delicate pink and I love the coloring for this scent blend. This is a perfect scent to remind you that summer will be coming back. I could easily imagine this scent blend being used as the scent for wedding favors. Can you?

Thanks for joining me on my latest scenting adventure. The Summer Rose Bouquet soap samples have been sent to the Shipping Department to send out in orders. I really want to hear your comments about this or any of the other recent soaps. I hope that anyone wanting a sample soap will request one and if we have any samples we will send them to you.

What blends would you make to remind you that summer will come back? I’d love to hear what you would make!

Finished bars of soap.
Weighing the fixed oils.
Melted fixed oils.
Adding the lye solution to the oils.
Beginning to blend the lye solution and oils together.

Adding the color and fragrance to the raw soap.

Continue reading Summer Rose Bouquet Soap

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Holiday Scent Blend Challenge

We had so much fun with the Fragrance Blend Challenge that Taylor released back in August, so we are going to do it again! So many of you had fun and I did too. This challenge is a little more centered on the holiday seasons, so I will allow you to use our complete fragrance oil and essential oil sections of the catalog. Did you know this means you will have access to 168 fragrances and and 50 essential oils for a total of 218 possible ingredients? You may blend as many fragrances as you want. You don’t have to own any of these to create blend ideas, so everyone can participate. Just use your imagination and see what you come up with. Let’s aim for 100 blends! Ready? Get set. Go!

How many fabulous holiday blends can you come up with? Winners will receive four 1 oz bottles of our new fragrances! There are 4 categories that we will choose winners for. All entries will be eligible for all categories.

  1. The most blends submitted.
  2. The most intriguing blend.
  3. The best food inspired blend.
  4. The best outdoors inspired blend.

Don’t wait too long! You only have one week to post your blends in the comments of this post. Good luck!

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